Computer Crime


It's the weekend, you have nothing to do so you decide to 
play around on your computer. You turn it on and then start up, you 
start calling people with your modem, connecting to another world, 
with people just like you at a button press away. This is all fine 
but what happens when you start getting into other peoples computer 
files. Then it becomes a crime, but what is a computer crime really, 
obviously it involves the use of a computer but what are these crimes. 
 Well they are: Hacking, Phreaking, & Software Piracy.
 To begin I will start with Hacking, what is hacking. Hacking is 
basically using your computer to "Hack" your way into another. They 
use programs called scanners which randomly dials numbers any 
generating tones or carriers are recorded. These numbers are looked 
at by hackers and then used again, when the hacker calls up the number 
and gets on he's presented with a logon prompt, this is where the 
hacking really begins, the hacker tries to bypass this anyway he knows 
how to and tries to gain access to the system. Why do they do it, 
well lets go to a book and see "Avid young computer hackers in their 
preteens and teens are frequently involved in computer crimes that 
take the form of trespassing, invasion of privacy, or vandalism. 
Quite often they are mearly out for a fun and games evening, and they 
get entangled in the illegal use of their machines without realizing 
the full import of what they are doing" , I have a hard time believing 
that so lets see what a "hacker" has to say about what he does "Just 
as they were enthraled with their pursuit of information, so are we. 
The thrill of the hack is not in breaking the law, it's in the pursuit 
and capture of knowledge." , as you can see the "hacker" doesn't go 
out to do destroy things although some do. It's in the pursuit of 
knowledge. Of course this is still against the law. But where did all 
of this start, MIT is where hacking started the people there would 
learn and explore computer systems all around the world. In the views 
of professional hacking is like drugs or any other addictive 
substance, it's an addiction for the mind and once started it's 
difficult to stop. This could be true, as hackers know what they are 
doing is wrong and they know odds are they will be caught. But as I 
mentioned some hackers are just above average criminals, using there 
skills to break in banks and other places where they can get money, or 
where they can destroy information. What a hacker does at a bank is 
take a few cents or even a few fractions of a cents from many 
different accounts this may seem like nothing but when all compiled 
can be alot. A stick up robber averages about $8,000 each "job", and 
he has to put his life and personal freedom on the line to do it while 
the computer hacker in the comfort of his own living room averages 
$500,000 a "job". As for people destroying information, this is for 
taking some one down, destruction of data could end a business which 
for some is very attractive. It can cost a company thousands of 
dollars to restore the damage done.
 Now that you have an understanding of what a "hacker" is, it time 
to move on to someone closely associates with a hacker. This is a 
Phreak, but what is that. For the answer we turn to the what is known 
as the "Official" Phreakers Manual "Phreak [fr'eek]
1. The action of using mischievous and mostly illegal ways in
order to not pay for some sort of telecommunications bill,
order, transfer, or other service. It often involves usage of
highly illegal boxes and machines in order to defeat the
security that is set up to avoid this sort of happening.
v. 2. A person who uses the above methods of destruction and
chaos in order to make a better life for all. A true phreaker
will not go against his fellows or narc on people who have
ragged on him or do anything termed to be dishonourable to
n. 3. A certain code or dialup useful in the action of being a 
phreak. (Example: "I hacked a new metro phreak last night.")" 
The latter 2 ideas of what a phreak is, is rather weird. A Phreak 
like the hacker likes to explore and experiment, however his choice of 
exploring is not other computer but the phone system as a whole. 
Phreaks explore the phone system finding many different ways to do 
things, most often make free calls. Why do they do this, " A hacker 
and phreaker will have need to use telephone systems much more than an 
average individual, therefore, methods which can be used to avoid toll 
charges are in order. " . A phreak has two basic
ways of making free calls, he can call up codes or PBXs on his phone 
and then enter a code and make his call or he can use Electronic Toll 
Fraud Devices. Codes are rather easy to get the phreak will scan for 
them, but unlike a hacker will only save the tone(s) number instead of 
the carrier(s). Then he will attempt to hack the code to use it, these 
codes range from numbers 0 - 9 and can be any length, although most 
are not more than 10. Electronic Toll Fraud Devices are known as 
Boxes in the underground. Most are the size of a pack of smokes, or 
than can be smaller or bigger. I will not go too deep. They are 
electronic devices than do various things, such as make outgoing calls 
free, make incoming calls free, simulate coins dropping in a phone, 
etc. People who "Phreak" are caught alot these days thanks to the new 
 Software Piracy is the most common computer crime, it is the 
illegal coping of software. "People wouldn't think of shoplifting 
software from a retail store, but don't think twice about going home 
and making several illegal copies of the same software." and this is 
true because I myself am guilty of this. The major problem is not 
people going out and buying the software then making copies for 
everyone, it's the Bulletin Boards that cater to pirating software, 
that really cause the problem. On anyone one of these boards one can 
find an upwards of 300 - 1000+ of pirated software open for anyone to 
take. This is a problem and nothing can really be done about it. Few 
arrests are made in this area of computer crime.
 I will now devote a brief section to the above mentioned BBS' , 
most are legal and do nothing wrong. However there are many more that 
do accept pirated software, pornographic pictures, animations , and 
texts. As well as a trading area for phone codes, other BBS', Credit 
Card numbers, etc. This is where a majority of Hackers and Phreaks 
come, as well as those who continue to pirate software come to meet 
and share stories. In this is a new world, where you can do anything, 
there are groups that get, crack, and courier software all over the 
world some of them are called:
INC: International Network Of Crackers, THG: The Humble Guys, TDT: The 
Dream Team. As well a number of other groups have followed suit such 
as Phalcon/SKISM (Smart Kids Into Sick Methods), NuKE, and YAM 
(Youngsters Against McAfee) these are virus groups who write and 
courier their work anywhere they can, they just send it somewhere, 
where anyone can take it and use it in any manner they wish, such as 
getting even with someone. All of these activities are illegal but 
nothing can be done, the people running these boards know what they 
are doing. As it stands right now, the BBS world is in two parts 
Pirating and the Underground, which consists of 
Hackers/Phreaks/Anarchists/Carders(Credit Card Fraud)/Virus 
programmers. All have different boards and offer a variety of 
information on virtually any subject.
 Well from all of this reading you just did you should have a 
fairly good idea of what computer crime is. I didn't mention it in 
the sections but the police, phone companies are arresting and 
stopping alot of things every day. With the new technology today it 
is easier to catch these criminals then it was before. With the 
exception of the BBS' the police have made some major blows busting a 
few BBS', arresting hackers and phreaks. All of which were very looked 
up to for knowledge in their areas of specialty. If I had more time I 
could go into these arrests but I must finish by saying that these are 
real crimes and the sentences are getting harsher, with alot of the 
older people getting out the newer people are getting arrested and 
being made examples of. This will deter alot of would-be computer 
criminal away. 


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